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Enea Bastianini’s Bold Stand Against MotoGP Penalties Sparks Debate: A Dive into the Controversial Catalan GP Decision

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Enea Bastianini reveals his reason for disregarding multiple incorrect long-lap penalties at the Catalan MotoGP event: "It's insane, but that's the situation!"

Enea Bastianini concluded the Catalan MotoGP competition with a series of unfulfilled long laps, leading to the FIM Stewards imposing a 32-second penalty on his race time after the event.

Observers believed that the Ducati racer might have missed seeing the initial extended lap penalty, issued for taking a shortcut at the second turn.

However, he subsequently overlooked the notification for the double long lap penalty assigned for not adhering to the prior sanction. Furthermore, he incurred a ride-through penalty due to his failure to execute the double long lap. A subsequent time penalty imposed was equivalent to that of a ride-through.

The Italian clarified that there was no misunderstanding regarding the penalty notifications. Rather, he was insistent that the rulings were incorrect and decided to disregard them.

Bastianini grinned, saying, “The dashboard’s [message] came across loud and clear! However, I found myself at odds with what the dashboard was saying!”

The Ducati team openly supported Bastianini's decisions, and the racer with the #23 asserted that video proof presented in meetings with Race Direction after the race validated his actions.

Bastianini described how he had to veer off course at the first turn while engaged in a tight race with Alex Marquez. In a twist of fate, he ended up traversing the extended penalty lane before making his way back onto the circuit.

The formal justification for Bastianini's initial penalty stated that 'if a rider takes a shortcut during the race, their time for that sector must be no less than 1 second slower than their usual average pace'.

Disregarding Marquez's action, which Bastianini believed could have merited a penalty for the Gresini competitor, and maintaining that veering off track was his only option, the Italian rider affirmed that the incident cost him over a second.

"Bastianini narrated how he managed to pass Alex on the straight stretch, but during the braking phase, although he applied the brakes exceptionally late, Alex braked even later than him, forcing Bastianini onto the curb," Bastianini recounted.

"The sole option was to bypass the chicane. Additionally, I ended up losing time by sticking to the route of the long lap.

I anticipated a 'drop position' penalty for Alex, but was surprised when the long lap penalty was issued… to me instead! I disagreed with the decision and chose to proceed without taking the long lap.

"I'm aware it may not be the ideal decision, yet action is necessary since there's no progress. Each event involves a discussion with the [Stewards], and it doesn't seem right to me."

Typically, a team would issue a reprimand to a rider for this type of conduct, but Bastianini mentioned that Ducati backed his choice to ignore the penalties.

"Davide Tardozzi and the entire team concurred with my choice; they are aware of the circumstances," he mentioned.

"After the competition, Davide and I decided to clarify the issue and to closely examine the video. Initially, the Stewards believed their decision for a long lap penalty at the beginning was right. However, they later changed their stance, indicating it was not the case."

A spokesperson for Ducati acknowledged: "They realized their choice was incorrect."

"Bastianini went on to say, “I attempted to reclaim my ninth spot towards the race's end. However, there was nothing Race Direction could do, mainly because, according to them, I didn't lose significant time when I re-entered the track.

"And I insisted, 'No, no, no. Look closely at the footage. I'm missing a second!'"

"I understand that if you shortcut the chicane, you need to slow down. When I got back on the track, I was racing alongside Alex, but after re-entering, Alex was 200 metres in front!"

Regrettably for Bastianini, despite any later proof indicating he was pushed off the track and suffered a loss of over a second, the MotoGP rules dictate:

"Any decision rendered by the judges of fact while performing their roles, such as the assignment of a long lap penalty during a Sprint or Race on the same day, cannot be challenged or appealed."

To put it differently, it remains unclear whether the FIM Stewards and Race Direction share Bastianini's viewpoint. However, regardless of their stance, overturning a penalty imposed during the race is not feasible.

"Bastianini simply dismissed it, saying, 'It's out of the question.'"

Even if you can demonstrate that the penalty was unjustified?

"It sounds insane, but that's how it is!" he exclaimed.

The penalty of 32 seconds demoted Bastianini from the 9th position down to the 18th, resulting in a loss of seven points for him.

He currently holds the fourth position in the world championship standings, trailing Marc Marquez by 20 points and Jorge Martin by 61 points.

Ducati Lenovo also saw a reduction of seven points in the team rankings.

Despite Ducati's open backing for Bastianini, there were murmurs suggesting a key takeaway from the day's events is the importance of accepting the initial penalty for the sake of a better race outcome, even when confident in one's stance…

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